Global Trade and the Seeds of Discontent

When we deplore others for not playing by the rules, it is often because they do not play by our

This guest article was written by William Laraque who is the Managing Director of US-International Trade Services. 

Scapegoats,ignorance and Machiavelli

Several U.S. GOP presidential candidates have used China as a scapegoat for U.S. economic woes. Some have recommended an isolationist and walled-in approach.

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In a display of grotesque ignorance, the governor of NY, after leading a trade mission to Cuba, gave a speech about selling NY apples and dairy products to Cuba. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of U.S. export controls knows that selling such products to Cuba would be a violation of sanctions which have existed for 50 years. A more sophisticated approach would involve checking the CLS or Country Limitation Schedule of the U.S. Ex-Im Bank (Exim.gov) to see if such sales are authorized and supported.

I initially thought that this might be a Machiavellian ploy on the part of the NY governor to exercise his power of pardon for those fined, debarred and imprisoned as a result of following his trade advice. In the Prince, Machiavelli counsels the prince to do heinous deeds privately while being publicly gracious. In the Discourses, his less read work, Machiavelli counsels the regent that the people are content when the regent obeys the law.

William Laraque, Managing Director, US-International Trade Services
William Laraque, Managing Director, US-International Trade Services

Economic ties

30 years ago, Xi Jinping visited Muscatine Iowa. Xi Jinping was then a low-level Chinese government official. Since that time, close ties have formed and exports from Iowa to China have reached almost $1 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (part of the U.S. Commerce Dept.), which is charged with keeping U.S. export statistics.
China will be buying $5.3 billion worth of soybeans from Iowa farmers, in accordance with a deal struck last September. Soybeans are Iowa’s top crop and the amount of this order represents the total volume of soybeans produced by Iowa farmers in one year.

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Cuba

When president Obama at the urging of Pope Francis I, announced plans to reopen relations with Cuba in late 2014, Marco Rubio declared: “It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”

The tyranny within

The word “tyranny” is used a lot by supposed patriots, by international trade poseurs and arrivistes. The tyranny with regard to U.S. agricultural exports is not solely defined by how China, Cuba and other nations are governed.

Robert Reich indicated in his latest book that farmers, including Iowa farmers, are not permitted to sell corn and soybean seed except through Monsanto.

Tyranny can be as equally economic as it is political. Monopoly and oligopoly define economic tyranny.

The rules

When we deplore others for not playing by ‘the rules’, it is often because they do not play by ‘our rules’.

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